17. Scene XIII.i
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
--Nor state nor ceremony shall e'er suffice
to stand for power, that no more present, returns not twice--
[The Regent's private office -- Finduilas is pouring wax carefully for her father to stamp with the royal seal, which is a challenge because a circle large enough to take a state seal wants to keep pouring off the page. She blows on it, watching it closely from an angle and waves him off when he goes to impress it.]
--Not yet, not yet -- it's just like molten glass at this stage, hard on the surface, pure liquid underneath. You'll ruin it and we'll have to peel it off and start over again.
[He smiles at her officiousness, and she smiles back]
[Orodreth emblazons the document.]
No matter how many assistants I have, you'll still be the best.
[Finduilas tosses her head in mock arrogance]
Of course I shall.
--But did you have to shout at him so?
Yes, I did. He was supposed to be doing his job. I'm sorry if he got a sudden inspiration and wanted to sketch it down right away, but I didn't accept his application to mind the door and deal with the small matters and keep trespassers out of my office except when he feels like doing something else -- I took him at his word that he would, in fact, mind things for me and if I can't rely on him to do that, then he needs to find me someone who will be responsible enough to put his or her own enjoyments to the side for the duration of service and go back to his studio. --Grinding Ice, I'm doing it now.
Anyway, he hasn't bolted yet, so the shouting seems to have done some good. --Either that, or he's waiting to assassinate me.
But I don't think so. I do think it was necessary to get through to him, unfortunately.
I don't know -- it just seems so -- uncivilized.
Unfortunately, civilization requires a good deal of work to keep it so. And sometimes the work is rather rough on one. A good deal of suffering and sweat goes into creating any worthwhile performance, on a musical instrument, or out of a forge, or -- here.
[shaking his head]
I had no idea so much of it. It . . . all . . . seemed to take care of itself. Now -- I feel like someone building a city out of sand -- no blocks, only mortar -- and dry. Grain by grain by grain . . . I don't know how he did it. I'm beginning to think he wasn't joking when he said sleep was a waste of time.
I do wish you wouldn't keep dismissing yourself, Father . . . He wouldn't have chosen if you if you weren't capable of doing it well.
No, it's only that -- the alternative -- was even more unacceptable.
But . . . I know you thought that there were things that should have been done better, or that didn't get done and should have, that you would have if, well--
[he doesn't say anything, and she looks away]
That is -- I mean -- you -- I always thought that people ignored you, that you felt relegated to the back ranks, overshadowed . . . by . . . him . . .
Overshadowed? . . . Yes. As one feels overshadowed by a mountain, or by the forest itself, and -- never having known or experienced anything else -- cannot even conceive of what absence of same would entail. And now . . .
[shakes his head, runs his hands along the just-signed proclamation]
And the diplomatic complications . . . I swear I'd no idea there were so many different ethnicities in Narog alone, each with their own completely different idea of what's fitting and proper! Even in a single village . . . And they don't -- that is, mistrust is too strong a word -- but they don't trust me to understand what they're getting at or referring to, not without complicated explanations -- quite correctly, I'm discovering -- and that just leaves so much open to simple misinterpretation, and I hardly dare decide anything for fear of offending against someone's legitimate claims.
Is it true that the natives don't really understand what we did for them? That they think we're to blame for all the troubles in Beleriand? That's ridiculous, isn't it? I mean, obviously we're not.
Who said that? Her Highness of Doriath?
I'm not sure that I would agree with the Doriathrin interpretation of history in all particulars, but the stance is not entirely without validity and the concerns worth bearing under consideration.
Is that a "yes" or a "no"?
Orodreth: [brief real smile]
Are you going to invite her to your Gathering tonight?
I -- I hadn't -- I didn't think she'd wish it.
It's going to look very singular and undiplomatic if you don't. You've invited Lord Celebrimbor, haven't you?
Yes, but he probably won't come.
It would be so -- awkward -- if she did . . .
As would not inviting your cousin and seniormost member of the nobility present.
I know. Believe me, I know, dear. There are no good decisions, sometimes.
[silence -- Finduilas moves things about in distracted "tidying" of the desk]
Are you coming?
Most unlikely. I feel guilty in advance for taking the time away from this
[gesturing inclusively of the office mess]
to eat dinner with you. Whether Her Highness attends or not.
Finduilas: [doubtful, a bit sceptical]
There isn't really that much work, is there?
You haven't any idea, child. --I haven't any idea. But I'm starting to.
Father! You're not going to slide out of it, are you? You promised!
Orodreth: [snapping out of it]
What? Oh no. Even if you were willing to overlook such abuse of your patience, it would be most ungracious to the chefs and disrespectful of their work. This isn't going anywhere, and a few hours won't make much difference, I'm afraid.
Would you mind putting out the warmer, dear?
[Finduilas extinguishes the flame under the wax and takes his arm; as they walk into the inner rooms of the suite:]
You'll have to tell me all about your latest composition over dinner; I'm afraid I didn't completely understand what you were trying to accomplish with the variations in the fourth movement when you described the idea to me last Summer...
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